I don’t pause enough. The minute I finish a task, I check in to social media sites, I read blogs. These things represent a break in my day and taking breaks is a good thing. Except I rarely eat without also reading. Somehow there is a piece of me that is convinced that we need some sort of input all the time. I can’t do one thing if the task allows for two things. Again, this is a useful way to accomplish more. The trouble comes when I am constantly inputting things into my brain and never leaving time for them to percolate and process. There need to be times when I am doing one boring thing so that my brain has a chance to quiet.
I haven’t been sleeping well. This is sad and strange because during the holidays is one of the few times when I get enough sleep on a daily basis. My usual schedule has me running at an hour-per-day sleep deficit which I try to catch up on Saturdays. This past week I’ve gotten eight or nine hours per night and still been tired the next day. It is like the anxiety waits for me in my subconscious and disturbs me all night when I’m supposed to be resting. I’m restless, I wake often, as if unremembered things chased me through my dreams all night. This particular pattern is a familiar one and I know the cure. I need more exercise during the day. If I break a sweat during the day then I don’t at night. It is some sort of weird conservation of sweat I guess.
This evening I was at loose ends. My work brain had shut off for the day. There was nothing I particularly wanted to read or watch. I knew that I wasn’t likely to sleep well, particularly since I have a driving day tomorrow and the night before a driving day is almost always an anxious one. I wanted to be distracted, to not have to think about the work I felt I should be doing or the long drive tomorrow. But as I was preparing some food and pondering my current lack of book, I realized how seldom I allow myself to be alone with my thoughts. I thought about this lovely video poem I discovered several years ago on How to Be Alone. Then I sat down and ate with just my thoughts for company. I noticed some things out of place in my house and decided that my next hour would be spent putting them in order. It took two. I made the work more energetic than strictly necessary, so that it counted as light exercise. During the work I did not think of anything in particular. In fact, mostly I thought of nothing. It was a good rest for my brain that thinks of things far too much.
I should practice this more often, focusing on one thing instead of always seeking out more. I don’t know if the work and quiet was sufficient to provide a better night’s sleep, but it certainly provided a better evening than I otherwise would have had.
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